The most heard phrase on the streets of Monrovia

Liberian music is going through a creative explosion. Cultural singers are taking to the studio and creating an exciting, high-energy, danceable sound. Young urban folks have invented a local Hip-Hop style called Hipco which talks to their reality, and reinvents Liberian identity for a new generation. Sometimes the two meet with exciting results. With a wealth of creativity in the Liberian music scene, what the artists lack is exposure. For the next few weeks I will be posting on Liberian music while helping to launch a Liberian music blog.

“Dumyarea” means “that’s my area” in Liberian English. It is a common phrase in the market where sellers yell it out to stake their place. Today, it is the most heard phrase on the streets of Monrovia, and the name of the song most played throughout the country. And when I say most played, I mean there is no escaping, any time of day.

Liberian singer, Junior Freeman (and his partner African Soldier?) has taken the country the storm this election season. So much so that the president used his hook in the launch of her re-election campaign. He performs a style called Gbema which is what happens when music from Liberia’s ethnically diverse interior meets computer-based music production software.

Beyond the infectious rhythm, the genius of the song is in the simple yet socially relevant lyrics, that speak to all walks of life. “Everybody got they’re own area… some people area is to be Senator… some people area is to go up and down the street.” It’s the kind of populist anthem that everyone can get down to, and whenever it comes on, people do. This unity through music and culture is really a sight to behold in a fairly divided society.

Comments

comments

Boima Tucker

Chief Boima is a Sierra Leonean-American music producer, DJ and writer. He is also the managing editor, podcast host, and music section editor of Africa is a Country.

8 Comments
  1. Been listening to this on repeat. Pretty sure African Soldier is indeed his partner as they're both on the album cover. Also, the song name on the CD is spelled Dumyanea which I just assumed was a Bassa word but I can't really say—da nah my area-o.

  2. Hi Aaron. I have the CD too. I'm pretty sure "Dumyanea" is a typo or the person who made the CD has no idea what the song is actually saying. The distributor is RK studios in Waterside who basically has a monopoly on the production and distribution of local CDs and tapes. It's unfortunate, and something I hope will change soon.

    RK just released the videos as well, I wonder what African Soldier's role is. Trying to track down Mr. Freeman in the next week…

  3. I love Liberia! I just returned from their on July 4th. Liberia is a beautiful country.I was staying at AGC school. I support 2 children for school. Oh, I just love them.
    Working for our Kids,
    Diane

  4. Thank you – just bought this album while in Monrovia for work, and did not have a name for this type of music or its cultural relevance. Thank you for giving me a better understanding! I loved Liberia too. What great people. Wishing all in Liberia a peaceful and honest election.

  5. Survivors’ Truths Inc. is producing A collection of original music by Liberians and for Liberians promoting songs that speak to the themes of Liberian pride and peace-building. Because there is a lot of good music out there the non-proft. organization want to raise awareness & engage Liberian diaspora especially in supporting grassroots peace-building. Artists can go to http://survivorstruths.org/LIB-Pride-and-Peace.php to learn more & participate

Mailing List

Sign up for email updates!

 

Not the continent with 54 countries







©Africa is a Country, 2016